Marijuana use is skyrocketing among young adults as more states accept legal cannabis

Today’s youth has become the Wrecked Generation.

The number of young adults smoking marijuana has skyrocketed as cannabis use has been legalized across much of the United States — including now in New York, a new survey released Monday shows.

Twenty-six percent of people ages 18 to 29 — a group that includes older members of Gen Z and younger Millennials — smoke marijuana, up from 17 percent in 2015, according to Gallup Poll analysis.

That’s more than double the number of young adults who smoke cigarettes, which has fallen from 35% in 2003 to 25% a decade ago to 12% today, according to the Gallup report.

“Public health officials are heartened by the precipitous decline in cigarette smoking over the past two decades, a trend largely driven by the collapse in smoking rates among young adults,” Gallup’s analysis reads.

“But young adults are increasingly smoking marijuana, perhaps because it is now legal in a growing number of states, and vaping. Both vaping and marijuana are more common activities for young adults than traditional cigarette smoking.”

Light marijuana cannabis joint
The number of young adults smoking marijuana has skyrocketed.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Twenty-one states have now legalized recreational cannabis—including many states in the East and West Coast population centers.

Other states such as Florida and Pennsylvania have legalized cannabis for medical use.

The Gallup analysis supports a recent study by Temple University Researchers, published in the journal Addictive Behaviors.

“Following the legalization of recreational activities, the prevalence of cannabis use among adolescents and young adults increased in the past month,” the study said.

Researchers warned of an increase in addictive weed smoking, or “cannabis use disorder” that goes untreated.

“In young adults, a higher prevalence of cannabis use was associated with a lower number of CUD treatment admissions,” the study states.

Opponents of marijuana legalization have said their warnings have come true.

“Marijuana use has been declining for decades thanks to the concerted effort of prevention efforts, but the legalization and commercialization of marijuana threatens to undo these public health gains,” said Kevin Sabet, president of the group Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

“Nor can we ignore the fact that young people are beginning to use new forms of today’s super-potent marijuana, such as

Cannabis young adults
However, proponents said they were glad people were using it legally.

“I’m just happy to be part of this development. I’m passionate about changing the stigma surrounding cannabis. There’s a stigma, but the culture is changing,” said Nicholas Koury, who last week received one of New York State’s first licenses to open a cannabis store in Manhattan.

“The stigma isn’t necessarily accurate. Cannabis can be helpful for people’s mental state and there are medicinal benefits.”

26% of people aged 18 to 29 smoke marijuana, up from 17% in 2015.

In New York, which just last week granted its first round of 28 cannabis shop licenses, it’s already grappling with a burgeoning unlicensed and unregulated black market, where bodegas and other head shops openly sell weed and cannabis candy.

Some young smokers also appear to have switched to vaping or less toxic e-cigarettes, according to Gallup

About 7% of US adults reported having smoked or vaped e-cigarettes in the past week.

However, vaping is far more common among young adults – almost one in five 19% of 18-29 year olds vape. Nicotine-based e-smoking was much less common in older groups.

Overall, 27% of all American adults smoke either marijuana, cigarettes, or e-cigarettes.

But 40% of young adults smoke at least one of the three – mostly weed or vapes. Marijuana use is skyrocketing among young adults as more states accept legal cannabis


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